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Historians put focus on area’s Tejano pioneers

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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019 10:11 am

In honor of Texas History Month, local history buffs are making sure the contributions of the Tejano people are remembered.

“They have been here for as many decades as the Anglos have, and they’ve been Texans as long as anyone,” said Karen Robertson, vice president of the Kerrville Genealogical Society. “The cultures have mingled — the people, food, music, language, joy of family and pride for the country.”

In partnership with other area organizations, the Kerrville Genealogical Society is offering a variety of ways for residents to delve into that rich history.

Relics of Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez — a Tejano Texas Ranger, surveyor, justice of the peace and rancher — are on display at the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library.

Rodriguez was born in 1829 in what is present day Zaragoza, Mexico, 35 miles west of Eagle Pass. In 1840, his family moved to San Antonio, later settling on the San Pedro Creek and Medina River.

While in the military, he was stationed in Camp Verde, and he eventually settled a community in Bandera County that boasted a general store, chapel, school and a hospital.

The Polly Texas Pioneer Association is working to restore that community.

“It’s not quite Williamsburg, but it can be,” Robertson said.

In Kerrville, artifacts such as Rodriguez’s Texas Ranger badge, saddle bag and church hymnal — from when he was a Methodist circuit rider — are just a few of the items on display.

The badge and a cross he carried are two of the relics Robertson is most excited about.

“I didn’t realize how many Tejanos were Texas Rangers,” she said. “And it was cool to see the cross.”

The exhibit was made possible though the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Polly Texas Pioneer Association, Friends of the Butt-Holdsworth Memoria Library, Peterson Foundation and the Kerrville Genealogical Society.

It is noteworthy to see all of the organizations working together to make the exhibit happen, Robertson said.

“These cultures have been side by side since the early Republic, and people don’t remember that,” she said. “It’s time to honor it.”

On Wednesday, Rudi Rodriguez, Polly’s great-great-nephew, will be the keynote speaker at the Kerrville Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting.

Rodriguez, who lives in San Antonio, is the author of several Tejano history books, including “A Tejano Son of Texas,” an autobiography. He also wrote “A Tejano Son of Texas Record Book,” which covers baptisms, marriages, military and religions records, in addition to other documents and photos of Tejanos in Texas.

Rodriguez, who is a board member of the Institute of Texan Cultures and served on the Texas State Historical Commission, also wrote educational material for students, as well as a stage play called “Texas Tejanos: A Revolution Remembered: 1835-1856.”

His speech will focus on the Polly Texas Pioneer Association, a history of Polly’s life and what resources are available for people who want to track their Tejano history.

“Since it is a genealogy meeting, I wanted to get genealogy in there somehow,” Robertson said.

Wednesday’s meeting is free and open to the public. It will begin at 2 p.m. at the Research Center and Library at 125 Lehman Drive.

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1 comment:

  • Mary Lou Shelton posted at 5:23 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2019.

    Mary Lou Shelton Posts: 1312

    very informative article and thank you for writing it. gene


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